In a statement published on its website on February 18, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry referred to the Russian authorities’ intention to ban the Mejlis as ‘another blatant violation of political freedoms and human rights in illegally annexed Crimea’.

“By intimidating and harassing Crimean Tatars, Russia is showing that it is trying to break the will of this people to fight for their rights and resist the occupation authorities,” says the statement.

The statement goes on to say that Lithuania does not recognize Russia’s occupation of Crimea and condemns ‘systemic and blatant human rights abuses perpetrated against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians by the Russian Federation in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea for 2 years’.